Music soothed our souls as teenagers. The fears, the melancholy, the hormones, the mad crave for love and sex, the exams at school, the social tensions, pains and pains of maturation. I did not drink alcohol, neither did I smoke anything, nor did I try drugs. Except for the usual, typical teenage non-stop self soothing, music was the major remedy for all the ails of the soul, and body.
I rummaged through vinyl record stands in small shops in London, and bought John Mayall, Memphis Slim, Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters, Johnny Lee Hooker. Later on in my 20s in Tel Aviv, I added Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Lead Belly, Jimmy Hendrix, B B King, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Holiday, Nina Simone, Besse Smith, Etta James, and much later Amy Winehouse.
I listen to music all day long as I paint, jog, and breathe.
A New Orleans born and raised woman saw my painting of THE DANCE OF WISDOM, just before it was sold. She loved my self portrait, so she commissioned me to paint her husband’s portrait, and then said, “You must paint the dance of the blues,” for New Orleans Jazz Fest. It will be an iconic piece.”
How did I not think of it before? How is it that someone had to suggest this fantastic idea to me, and I didn’t invent it myself?
This woman’s house is full of paintings, photos, sculptures and knick-knacks of the black, southern music culture.
I immediately set out to paint this and in a storm of excitement finished it very quickly. When it was done I admit that I loved it so much, I lost all self criticism. It was as if this painting had been sitting in my belly since 1967, and spilled itself out onto the canvas now. I thank Elizabeth from New Orleans for prompting me to give this sudden birth.
“The Dance of the Blues” on canvas, 60″ x 48″ featuring these blues giants:
B B King
Johnny Lee Hooker
Big Bill Broonzy
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